Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Donald Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

Donald Trump signs order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

President Trump will use his first State of the Union address on Tuesday to announce his intention to keep the controversial military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, open, according to reports.

A White House statement on the executive order stated that it "affirms that the United States maintains the option to detain additional enemy combatants at [Guantanamo] when necessary".

It requires the defence secretary to recommend criteria for determining the fate of individuals captured by the USA in armed conflict, including sending them to Guantanamo.

"In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of unsafe terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield - including the ISIS leader, (Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi, who we captured, who we had, who we released", Trump said in the speech, referring to the Islamic State militant group.

"In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of unsafe terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield ― including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi".

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Hundreds were transferred to sites in the USA or sent to their home countries under President Barack Obama, who failed to close the prison after facing opposition in Congress. They are unlawful enemy combatants.

The executive order authorized the US military to add detainees and suggested the possibility that captured Islamic State militants could be sent there for the first time. I just signed prior to walking in an order directing Secretary Mattis, who is doing a great job, thank you, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. Obama transferred 197 detainees out, leaving 41, including five cleared for release. He also said the United States will work to kill terrorists, but when it is necessary, they must be captured and interrogated. "And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are".

During his presidential campaign, Trump vowed to "load (Guantanamo Bay) up with some bad dudes."

European allies, Muslim leaders and other critics have been vehemently opposed to how detainees have been held at Guantanamo for decades without charge.

At its peak in 2003, it held about 680 detainees.

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